College Baseball: UCI's Sparks, Spencer, Morales first-team preseason All-Americans

UC Irvine infielders Taylor Sparks and Connor Spencer, as well as pitcher Andrew Morales, have been selected first-team preseason All-Americans by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assn.

Sparks was named Big West Conference Co-Player of the Year in 2013, when the sophomore third baseman batted .360 with 10 home runs and 50 runs batted in. He was named second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and was an ABCA Gold Glove winner.

Sparks, named second-team West Region by the American Baseball Coaches Assn. in 2013, spent the summer playing with the USA Baseball national collegiate team and was named Most Outstanding Player in the USA-Japan series.

Spencer, a first baseman, won the Big West batting title after hitting .373 en route to second-team all-conference honors. He had 35 RBIs, 19 doubles and an on-base percentage of .443, while collecting 79 hits and scoring 42 runs.

Morales was 10-0 with a 1.89 earned-run average in 2013 after transferring from Rio Hondo Community College. He was first-team All-Big West and was chosen second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Morales struck out 85 and allowed 78 hits in 95 1/3 innings last season, when opponents batted .227 against him.

UCI opens the season Feb. 14 with the first of a three-game nonconference series against Fresno State at 6:30 p.m. at Anteater Ballpark.

— From staff reports

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